“Could you step in here for a second? I’d like to talk to you about something, in private.”
Sabrina stood with her head turned and her back toward the woman who'd caught her on her way back to her office. Jesse, as she was known around the building. She made it a point to not keep the blonde waiting longer than a few seconds before answering.
The red-headed consultant turned back toward Jesse and entered the room at a slow pace, taking note of everything she could see of the blonde from the corner of her eye. It was a strange request, to be led into a vacant conference room that wasn't even on the floor Jesse worked. It had the classic signs of an ambush in Sabrina's mind, with things seeming coincidental and innocent enough, especially with Jesse's calm expression.
Sabrina scanned the room as quickly as she could, looking for signs of at least someone else's presence, or something that would look out-of-place. The only thing that qualified was Jesse as she shut the door behind them to ensure the privacy she asked for.
"I'll admit, it is a little strange meeting in here instead of in my office. Is everything alright?"
"Yeah. Well, sort of. I was actually in here to try to prep myself to ask your advice about something. I meant to go to your office, but you showed up as soon as I opened the door."
Sabrina paid close attention to Jesse's face, looking to see if any shift or tick there would give away a different intention.
"About someone I know. Used to be a colleague of mine," Jesse clarified.
"Were they with the company?"
"Not...necessarily. I've seen them for drinks frequently in the past."
"But, not so much now?"
Jesse's sullen look at where she stood with her friend appeared to be the most genuine thing about her explanation, but Sabrina specifically looked for things that sounded far from genuine.
"I can assume your friends' problems are the kind that I could help with if he worked here, yes?"
"I think so, but they, he....I want to be the one to approach him about it, at least to show concern. Directing him to a counselor might give him the wrong impression, as if to say 'something's wrong with you.''"
"As a counselor, I admit I do find that stigma annoying, but I understand where you're coming from Jessica. Why don't you tell me a little more about your friend?"
Sabrina took a chair near the long desk, and Jesse found herself doing the same. Sighing almost exasperatedly, Jesse tried figuring out where to start, something Sabrina was more than used to. She stopped herself from looking at her watch, and let the other woman try to find her words.
"We'd met at something work-related for me a while ago. We dated a bit, had almost gotten serious, but it didn't last. It ended amicably enough, and we've kept a good friendship since."
Sabrina nodded and gave a look of consideration, both measured gestures meant to imply "I'm listening, please continue." She really was listening, but looking to read between the lines.
"At a bar we sometimes meet at, he told me about this new woman he'd been seeing. I was unfamiliar with her, until he pointed out she attended a previous, crowded engagement. The worry started setting in once I remembered exactly who he was talking about. I hate to make snap judgments about people at first sight, but I had a bad feeling about this woman almost immediately."
"Why? What about her gave you this feeling?"
"You ever meet someone who gave off this almost unmissable high-class, hoity-toity vibe? That's the first thing that came to mind about her."
"Was she some sort of executive? Maybe a VP or a CEO?"
"I forget what she was where she worked, but I don't think she was that high up. You'd honestly think she was though, the way it looked like some guys were doing things for her as if they were still at work. By now, she could be on her way to such a position, one way or another."
Both Sabrina's eyebrows raised without her looking in Jesse's direction.
"That's a lot to estimate about someone you just met."
"I hate doing it, but I've met so many like her in my life, who just think they own the world, and don't mind using and abusing anyone close to them for nothing more than their whim."
"And you think your friend is in that kind of jeopardy?"
"My intuition says 'yes,' and I'm inclined to trust it. I know it'd be too much to tell him 'leave her, she's not the girl for you,' but it's better than saying nothing and watching things go bad."
"I hope you have a middle-ground in mind."
Jesse laughed. "Yeah. I'd be happy with just saying 'while I'm glad you're happy with this person. I think it might be worth it to step back and think of this woman objectively, and where you stand with her. Don't go blind to what she's doing if you notice things."
"Is there anything else you've noticed?"
"Not me personally, but there have been rumors about her, from others who work at my friend's company. I wouldn't give them weight, except they concur with my feelings."
"I see," Sabrina said evenly. "My professional opinion, from everything you've told me, is stick to your middle-ground."
"Really?" Jesse asked, genuinely surprised.
"Yes. Don't be afraid in the slightest to tell him what you think and fear, in those exact words. If I'd met your friend, my direct advice wouldn't be too far off from what you want to say. But can I point something out to you?"
"The 'how' you make your statement to your friend can make a world of difference. Not to sound judgmental myself Jessica, but you seemed a bit nervous about just bringing this issue to me on behalf of a friend. Do you think it'll be easier just admitting this to your friend?"
"I was more worried about the 'what' to say than the 'how.'"
"But I'm sure he and even I could see what you can't when you say it. There's a bit of apprehension there; it's clearly across your face, and could be easily misconstrued as something it's not, or something you're hiding. Though you're friends, it has to be hard enough being the messenger and a...possible former lover, delivering unsatisfying news about his current one."
Jesse leaned her head back against the chair, the lines and creases on her distraught-looking face showing apprehension as clearly as ever. Sabrina held back a smirk, wondering how Jesse didn't bother to think that wouldn't be an issue. She did look at her watch, to see how close it was to lunch time.
"Is our time up doc?" Jesse said sarcastically.
"No, not necessarily. We can continue to talk about this issue, but did you have something else you wanted to discuss?"
"You mentioned the 'how' I would speak to my friend earlier. I was going to ask if you had any relaxation tips for that, so I sound casual or something, for when I speak to him."
"Funny you mention that, I was going to suggest the same thing. But I'd much prefer that happen in my office."
Jesse nodded in agreement as she got up and walked to the door with Sabrina.
As the two women walked out, Sabrina hoped that no one would see them come out together, and for unnecessary, unsubstantiated rumors to spread.
Entering Sabrina's office, she asked Jesse to take the chaise lounge sofa near the wall, assuring her that she wasn't here for a full session, and that this wouldn't take long.
"It is the best position to relax in, and that's exactly what I recommend for giving advice for your friend - to relax."
Jesse sat on the lounging chair, adjusting her blazer in a strange way, looking uncomfortable, as if this was silly.
"That doesn't look very relaxed, but hopefully that how it feels, Jessica. How do you usually relax yourself?"
"A hot shower and a good book or TV show."
"Sounds effective, but do you ever notice the smaller details, maybe the things you unconsciously do to relax?"
"It's the simplest things that surprise people, believe it or not. Like breathing."
"Breathing. And.....?" the blonde asked incredulously.
"Merely breathing. It really shouldn't be such a strange thing to imagine. Perhaps after a nice, leisurely hot shower, and right before you search for the bookmark in your latest book or click to the appropriate channel, you sit where you are in your house or apartment, and just find yourself taking a breath."
Jesse thought about that for a second, never noticing her body starting to recapture that exact feeling.
"You know that breath Jessica; the one where you finally wear off the tedious, nettling rat-race of the day, where you've settled in to your comfort zone. I've seen it, and done it before so many times myself. Remember that system's panic from two months ago? How it almost became a much bigger problem than it was?"
"Yeah," she sighed, remembering one of their company's not-so-finest hours.
"Three-straight days of programming, crunching, job-saving diligence that by all accounts all of us barely scraped through. The night we heard the situation was more or less resolved, I thought of all of us going home to our families, friends, or our own private comfort zones and simultaneously breathing out a collective breath of relief. That slow intake of breath that sped up a bit as we all thought of our problems big and small, all the important and needless elements of the day, collecting everything up. All the memories in our heads, all the feelings in our bodies. In one full intake of breath, all our stress was there, in our lungs."
"And as nature intended, we breathed out, long and hard, letting it all go, free from worry, the working chains that bound us broken. We exhaled and came to realize that the rest of that time was there solely for us, only what we wanted, what we desired, frankly, what we needed. And the first thing all of us needed to do was relax."
Jesse stared up at nothing in particular, easily able to recall the months prior. Jesse was considered a hell of a leader, keeping everyone's spirits up enough for the profit of all, and even the survival of some. Sabrina figured the breath she took was stronger than most at the end of her day.
"I wouldn't be surprised if some like me decided that after feeling that first breath of sweet release, they would treat themselves to another. If the first breath was of release, the next is certainly about reflection, about what they just left behind, about mentally planning the joys to come. Some of the best things in life really are free, and breathing should always be near the top, for what it can give you. And since it costs nothing, you can take as many breaths as you want. Each as deeply as you like, and long as you like."
"And I absolutely love what they do for us. I've spent whole nights just forgetting everything and enjoying singular bliss of breathing. It's such a vibrant, cleansing experience that is quite underrated. You don't only get release and reflection from it. If you breathe in and out long enough and enjoy it, your breaths can bring you to a readying state. Even though the next day or the next assignment is so far away and isn't vexing you one bit, you can breath and imagine how well you can manage whatever the future holds for you. Maybe you have a big assignment to deal with. One big breath later, and you know you can handle it. One long breath later and you make a long trip to wherever you're needed. One deep breath later, and you can have an important talk with someone about a problem you think they have."
Sabrina didn't even have to suggest Jesse's eyes being closed, but her sentiency was reduced to breathing deeply and Sabrina's unheard but understood words. She was nearly sprawled out on Sabrina's furniture like so many before her, lulled into a stealthy nap that creeped up upon her from nowhere, but was everywhere around her now.
"Yes, Jessica, this is the perfect state to help you prepare for the problem you've come to me with. You're not a worrisome, jealous ex-lover; you are a calm, collected, concerned friend whose worries should not be visible at all. I can help you through the talk you want to have step by step. All you need to do is trust me. Can you do that Jessica?"
She mumbled something that sounded affirmative, but the hypnotist wanted to be sure.
"You can speak clearly Jessica. Tell me if you trust me."
"I...trust....you," she breathed out languidly.
Her trust wasn't really needed for continuing on, but it was a nice indicator of how she had to go to satisfy Sabrina.
"Then allow me to help you go through the motion of how you should approach your friend. Find yourself easily, effortlessly standing up with my help. You'll stay in this wonderfully dreamy state, breathing as easily and deeply as you want to."
The red-headed counselor took the blonde by her hands and tugged at her arms, feeling the muscles in them slowly accepting her help to stand up. Jesse stood up somewhat aware of not lying down anymore, waiting for what else Sabrina had to tell her.
"Pretend that you're in your friend's presence. You're meeting, looking forward to a good night of drinks, conversation, and laughs. But you have something important to tell him first. But you're not worried about telling him, because you know exactly how to say it, and what to say. He's your friend, understanding and willing to listen; you can tell him anything you think is important."
Jesse looked glassy-eyed at Sabrina, her mind sorting through the process of seeing her friend as clearly as possible under the circumstances.
"Look, Jon, I-"
"Sleep," Sabrina pulled Jesse in with a very impromptu hand-shake induction, suffering from momentary panic. She'd heard the last name she expected to from Jesse's lips. She repeated the phrase over and over again, saturating her mind with the command until she was sure that Jesse was incapable of doing anything until Sabrina told her to. Her new subject's head rested softly against her shoulder; her breathing was slow and peaceful. Sabrina felt Jesse's breath against her neck, laying her down back against the chaste chair.
Sabrina almost clumsily fell into the seat nearest to where Jesse lied, trying to gather her thoughts, hoping she hadn't been to hasty in what she did, or what she began to think.
"Jon is such a common name; you could be easily confusing who Jessica is talking about with someone else entirely. Stop worrying," is what she tried to tell herself in her own head. But the longer she thought about it, the more things started piecing themselves together.
The party described could easily be the one Sabrina attended years ago, merely as a gesture of being social, which would mean Sabrina was the "hoity-toity" woman who was so off-putting Jesse, a point that made her smirk as she always had a neutral opinion of Jesse, but had little reason to think of her as positive outside of her management skills.
All the suggestive breathing she'd put Jesse through, she found herself trying to avail herself of the same techniques, but Sabrina still needed her wits about her. The compulsion to reach for a cigarette to calm her nerves was lost on Sabrina except for circumstances like this. She wondered if trying to feign Sabrina as a bossy "executive" type should be taken as a compliment for how she tried to hide the identity of who she really meant. Her bossiness from that party, judged from a distance, amounted to harmless NLP tricks born out of boredom. She could've put on a show for people there if she wanted, but that wouldn't instill much confidence that Sabrina wouldn't be pixilated or discreet about using her skills in a professional setting. She certainly didn't expect to be noticed like she had been.
"Jesse, come up a little bit from your sleepy state. Awaken slightly for me."
Jesse's body slowly became more animated, shifting like someone on the verge of waking up, but fighting it.
"Can you hear me?"
"You do trust me, don't you?"
"What's the full name of the man you're concerned about?"
"Jon...Task," she breathed a weird kind of sigh, as if saying his name prompted an emotion in her.
Her body shifted enough that something on her made an electronic sound. The digital sound from a smart phone, Sabrina guessed. Sabrina felt the pockets of Jesse's body, and gently pulled her phone from her body. The hypnotist was surprised, yet not so surprised, to see Jesse's phone set to record.
Just about everything made contextual sense at that point. From the moment Sabrina and Jon got together, and even before that, she'd sensed there was person in his life that used to be of importance, enough so that when things went bad, it affected him in a way hard to hide. He probably hid it well, but when it came to observing people, she noticed things most people never bother paying attention to. When they got together, under pretty unconventional conditions, he seemed "cured" of the former love that ailed him. She never tried to cure him of it, nor would she have, even if asked. They just enjoyed their time together, and had not brought up sore points of their pasts yet. She would've never have guessed that unknown person of former interest was so close in proximity, just an office floor below them. She wondered, if she knew about Jesse from the start, would she have done anything to ensure she wouldn't be a problem for Jon anymore. That hardly mattered now as Jesse herself made the first move, and Sabrina now controlled the not-so-clandestine game initiated by the blond ex.
The sounds of movement and small talk outside her office signaled it was lunch time. Sabrina wasn't sure that she even had much of an appetite now; a growling stomach told her she was hungry, but her workload was looking to be busier than expected today.
Turning the recording function off, she set it down and moved to work more on Jesse, when the door opened behind her.
"Sabrina, I was hoping you'd accomp-"
Jon peeked his head in, to see Sabrina looking back at him shocked, and someone else laying on the couch behind her, looking very much asleep. The smile he greeted her with turned to confusion, the first thing that came to mind was he'd stumbled across a private session. He was about to whisper an apology, but a closer look at who was sleeping made him fully enter the room.
"Jesse? Sabrina what the hell is going on h-"
"Shhh," Sabrina quickly came to Jon and put her finger against his lips, silencing him.
"Let me explain - journey of azure."
Jon felt upset at the sight of his old lover, and his new, mischievous lover in the positions he found them in. Indignation tried rising up in him, looking for answers, but it unfortunately crashed against a tidal wave of crystal blue that filled his eye-sight. She made sure it was all he could see, and she let previously installed suggestions and the beauty of her eyes keep him from thinking of anything else except those eyes.
Jon was pushed back against the door. He heard it close behind him as Sabrina pressed further, and part of his mind used that to shake himself from her gaze. Not willing to let him gain an edge, she pressed their lips together softly, bombarding him further. The hypnotist realized in that kiss everything she'd felt before she ran into Jesse, how much more she wanted of last night. The memory of her successful role-play flashed in her mind, and the kiss deepened. She possessively gripped his tie and pulled him to her like a leash, using her other hand to squeeze a pressure point on his shoulder, feeling him moan into the kiss. She pulled away after a few seconds, and kept their eyes locked, watching him begin to fade. Grouping triggers together like that was something Sabrina was getting accustomed to, and it fascinated her to see him fade from the kissing spell, but his eyes remain open and glassy as ever from looking into her eyes.
Sabrina led her second submissive down to the chair she'd sat in earlier. She stood up, controlling her breathing yet again, looking down at the two tranced bodies merely open and waiting. The weight of whom she had in her chairs gave her deep consideration. One had turned out to be a jealous rival, and the other her most prized submissive, which the first was foolish enough to try to encroach on. She didn't think that Jon would have believed or entertained Jesse's opinion, but that wasn't the point in her mind. Jon belonged to Sabrina now, as far as the hypnotist was concerned, and she would have the final say of if and when someone else would have a shot, which wasn't likely at all.
The red-haired therapist look over at Jon for a moment to see his dulled expression and almost dumb smile that exhibited how deeply under he was and happy to be there.
"How dare she even think to try to take that away from him," she thought to herself. "How dare she even think..." she mused, which stuck out in Sabrina's mind longer than she expected it to, long enough to kickstart mental gears in her head. Sabrina's thoughts were still centered on neutralizing the situation completely, and especially Jesse. The how started to become a unique opportunity full of interesting possibilities.
She gripped Jesse's cellphone in one hand, and caressed Jon's face with the other. His glassy eyes found hers to be so close to his face. She simply told him to "follow" and he was guided out of the chair to take slow steps in-sync with hers, still staring point-blank into positively twinkling blue eyes. She guided him behind her desk, to his knees while he looked up at his controller adoringly, possibly the most familiar position for Jon when it came to Sabrina.
"Close your eyes for a moment, Jonathan."
He did so, easily for her.
"I want you to help me with something. I want your mind to help channel your inner hero, help bring Striker to the forefront. But not just yet," she told him, trying not to move hastily. "Striker will come to surface to see Scryer momentarily; it will be so similar to their last meeting. In fact, your mind can think of it as lost footage; a memory considered lost that I helped you recover. But this moment is special, because with all your concentration, you get to re-write the script a bit."
There was a sign of hopefulness on Jon's face, a nice surprise instead of the confusion she half-expected from her instructions.
"In this regained scene, Striker will awaken, still deeply under the spell of Scryer, totally at her mercy and disposal. Upon awakening, Striker will be granted an opportunity. If there is a special fixation, fetish, or something captivating that Striker, or Jonathan has always wanted to indulge himself in, but never gotten the chance to, Scryer will grant him whatever his heart desires. It is a gift from your sorceress, for being such a good boy, and it is granted to you on the condition that you will continue to be exactly that, complaint without question."
Involuntarily, Jon closed his eyes even tighter, already beginning to imagine something he always wanted, but never told any lover.
"Do you like that idea Jonathan?"
"Yes..." his sleepy voice trailed off.
"This scene will take place in your mind, while you whisper to me in narration what is happening. You can speak softly, but clearly enough, because you know your Mistress wants to hear about your special fantasy."
"When I snap my fingers, you will imagine the scene and begin narrating as instructed. Are you ready?"
After a final "yes," she snapped her fingers, and waited for him to recant what was going on in his imagination. She meant for this to be background music, to let his mind go deep into a fantasy, well-distracted while she decided what to do with Jesse and her phone, but she underestimated how rapt listening to him made her.
He spoke of the previous night so vividly. The sexual musk of the previous night was all he smelled other than Scryer's perfume. The background was non-existent and didn't matter. It was merely the vigilante and enchantress together, him kneeling and her seated on the single prop to be present - a broomstick that she comfortably sat on, a point which Sabrina quietly snickered at. Scryer was dressed nearly as identical as their night, except for the stockings she wore with pretty patterns and jewels woven into them. She loomed over him in approval, and allowed him to worship her legs.
Sabrina's ears perked up at that point. She listened with curiosity as he gently caressed her legs, and the soles of her feet, kissing all over the silky material with his eyes open, licking at some of the bare parts of her legs. Scryer's hands rested on her knee, and she'd occasionally caress his head, scratching his scalp like a pleased pet owner.
Once he got to talking about taking her toes into his eager mouth, she, Sabrina, had modified her suggestion a bit to where he would no longer narrate, but act out the scene in-front of her. It crossed her mind that just from the position she'd started this, maybe their position had rigged how or what was supposed to play out. Sabrina couldn't complain at that point as she'd never had the pleasure of being pampered by a man like that, and would have thought it too weird to try under different context. But feeling him suck at her toes almost methodically, careful to not ruin the stocking with his teeth, to suck on the smaller toes like he did her nipples. He moaned while having her big toe in his mouth, as if he enjoyed the flavor of it, or of his submission to her.
At that point, both Sabrina and Scryer were convinced that their submissive would be allowed to continue that fantasy at a later time, for how wet his treatment made her, and also for how it cutely tented his pants. "I might have to implant more backdrops like this in the future," she thought to herself. After saying it, she took a good look at Jesse who was still under, and finally came up with a plan for the interloper.
She wiggled her toes for Jon, to make his attention even more livelier while she got the miniature SD card out of Jesse's phone, where the recording she tried to make in secret was kept. Inserting it into her office desktop, she made a few file switches, and searched the phone for some potentially useful information. When she'd completely her task, Sabrina had told Jon to stop his worshipping and wait quietly for her, while she made her way to Jesse.
"Jesse, can you hear me?"
"Yes," came a reply as sleepy as Jon's.
"I want you to listen to me very, very carefully. I have some important things I'd like you to do for me. This is something you can do for me, the one whom you trust. This is also something which you can do for Jonathan, the one you seem to care so much about. Jonathan especially wants you to listen, so you will."
Jesse heard the name of her interest spoken, and confusedly tried to shake herself from trance, but was interrupted by a collection of sharp finger snaps and equally sharp whispers of "sleep" in her ears. She did double the amount that she was used to, for a subject she recently just made, and one she had plans for.
* * *
Jesse got back to her office sometime after lunch. The details of it were fuzzy to her. Her stomach didn't feel quite satisfied, but got filled with something quick to satiate her. She'd most likely be looking forward to a big dinner to make up for the loss. Her mind was more set on her phone, or more specifically what was on it now. She told a few subordinates who would usually come to her with concerns not to disturb her for the afternoon.
Plugging in a set of earphones to her smart phone, she went to the recording section of her phone, looking for the recently made entry. Pulling it up, she fast-forwarded to the point of Sabrina's relaxation exercise, guessing by the time she stared and how long it took to get to her point of interest. Jesse heard Sabrina's voice in isolation, surprised of the quality of the recording. Having it hidden in her jacket pocket, she expected some of what she heard to be muffled. What came though her earphones sounded like professional-quality. How well the recording sounded lead Jesse to think about how nice Sabrina's voice sounded, almost as if she was re-living the experience again.
Jesse couldn't tell if it was just the prior session or a lack of food which sometimes made her sleepy, but there was a drowsiness coming over her that she fought. Jesse fought it hard enough to the point of turning off the recording. She'd planned to listen and see right away if there was anything on the level of incrimination that she could take to Bevy to inquire about Ms. Marks' ethics. With how she felt then, Jesse wasn't worried; she knew the quality was good, and that if there was anything to find, she'd come to it eventually.
It was later in the evening, after dinner with a few friends, that she filled her appetite nicely, and settled in with giving the recording another listen. Instead of skipping, she started from the beginning, trying to think of how she'd present her issue about Sabrina to their superior. "It should be easy," she thought. "Something worth termination would have its own draw. I don't even have to be the kind of 'salesman' the red-head was to get her rather cushy job. And if Bevy won't act, or if she's got something on him, I can always go over his head."
In all of this thinking, Sabrina noticed even more how Sabrina's voice was the dominant voice playing. Jesse seemed to remember more back and forth between them as she gave her story to the therapist. "Maybe I got the timing wrong," she thought, as Sabrina's voice was already in speaking about relaxation, drawing out her suggestions in a way that left Jesse feeling languid. She could swear there was some ambient music playing in the background too; maybe something Sabrina turned on in her office while she was distracted.
Jesse happened to look over at the clock and realized her error. "Trying to listen to something relaxing this late after a big meal; good thinking Jesse." She already happened to be in bed as she listened, so she simply rolled over in it to turn the lamp off, dreamily unaware of the recording still running, playing through her earphones still.
Jesse woke up the next morning feeling refreshed and happy, even when realizing she'd slept through the recording that'd played into the night. It was a combined happiness of knowing she had something on Sabrina, and reaping the benefits of listening to her voice; her consciousness seemed to only care about the former.
For the next few days, Jesse had gone into a routine. Part of her afternoons would be spent listening to a small portion of Sabrina's relaxation, only to just avoid falling asleep to it, which would put prime her to give it her full attention later on, listening to the recording in bed, listening carefully to each word, looking for the exact words to bring her down. Jesse found those words without even realizing, as she was the 'she' to be brought down. The pretense of why she made the recording in the first place was always there, but internally, the best part of her day was any excuse to slip into the comfort effortlessly constructed by the voice playing on her phone.
Jesse had seen Bevy at some point the next week, bringing up intended business, yet somehow managed to have that one important matter escape her, for some reason. She certainly tried to remember exactly what, attempting to wrap her mind around the slippery what for a few minutes before Bevy stopped her. "Don't wear yourself out, Jesse. Just let it come to you; you can always bring it up later." She took his advice, and the issue did come back to her easily less than an hour later, but she still found some reason to put it off, still confident in what she had.
Jesse had even run in to Sabrina near the therapist's office at some point, and was invited in. She was all smiles with the red-head, trying to conceal a smile of "I know something you don't know - your ass is mine." Sabrina smiled back just as easily, happy to commend her on her last session, complimenting her on what a good subject she ended up being, how she could still notice her taking advantage of the deep breath exercises from time-to-time. It elated a part of Jesse to hear that.
Jesse was confused at some point about talk of another session in the future; Sabrina seemed not only adamant about it, but excited in a mellow, matter-of-fact kind of way. Jesse tried to pay attention, but the details seemed rather uninteresting, so ended up half-listening to Sabrina as she outlined what the next session might be like. It still sounded nice just to listen to her, and she still wanted to keep up the pretense of good relations. A few words stood out in her talk, like they were being repeated. "Relaxation," of course was one. "Deep" was maybe spoken the most, which might be typical of the therapy-types, she thought, but still weird.
The weirdest though had to be her speaking of "concentration." It was less how many times she said it, but how she said it, drawing the word out like trying to say someone's name seductively or with emphasis. It just stood out; Sabrina even paused a few times before saying it. She paused so much Jesse herself ended up repeating the phrase with her. Both of them knew exactly what tenses to use in the context of each sentence. "Concentrate," "Concentrating," "Concentrated." Sabrina looked so happy to see this happening, and Jesse couldn't see why, nor did she realize her facade morphed into something more genuine.
"I think you're really ready for this," Sabrina told her potential patient. Sabrina departed soon after, leaving Jesse confused, and strangely looking forward to see what she was talking about, while she was still employed there, of course.
Jesse went back to her own office, feeling like she was forgetting something. Sure enough, her cellphone was missing from her person. She'd gone back up to Sabrina's office to see her at her desk, and her smartphone laying near Jesse's end of the desk.
"I was hoping you'd remember this," Sabrina told her. "I was about to come look for you to give this back."
"Thanks," the blonde responded. "I would've been lost without this today."
Sabrina somehow managed not to smirk. "Don't worry; I would've made sure this got back to you immediately. Believe me, I know how important these things are."
She didn't bother agreeing with Sabrina to prevent any hint of just how important, and thanked her.
Jesse's days went on as normal as ever, with work, outings with friends, and the occasional time spent to analyze the recording of Sabrina. Every night became one of better, deeper sleep as she listened. With each passing night, the idea, the pretense of why she was listening to Sabrina, was slowly, carefully undone. Sabrina's voice told her in her sleep how the only reason she needed, wanted to listen, was just for the pleasure of listening. She didn't even need to be told that no voice affected Jesse like Sabrina's could, but she did enjoy hearing that. The entire plot of trying to sink Sabrina was eaten away, "cured" as Sabrina told her. Jesse and Sabrina both understood that she went in listening to the hypnotist for a negative reason, and Jesse's subconscious was so grateful that, given time, all that would be left was a positive reason. "More positivity in your life should be a good thing," Sabrina told her cheerfully on a nightly basis.
Those weird words from Sabrina's session outline appeared again in the seemingly new recording, especially "concentrate." Thinking about the word, hearing it spoken by anyone, particularly Sabrina, made her feel..."empowered" was the only word she could come up with. Every morning, she felt empowered, and throughout the day, if she happened to hear the word. She couldn't understand why, but she rode the wave of empowerment all through her day. One day, while taking care of an errand at the bank, she even got to use it.
She was waiting in a long line for a teller, when she got a call from a friend. She made her greetings over the phone in a quiet enough voice, when Jesse felt part of her mind detach a bit. Not only detach, but seek out something in the mind of someone else. Whatever it was, it set her off. Jesse maintained a normal composure, but her friend on the line could tell something was wrong. When asked about it, Jesse quietly responded,
"I feel like something's....up."
"Concentrate," her friend told her. Jesse kept her phone up to her ear to look unassuming as usual, while her friend told her to concentrate and to encourage her. What Jesse felt in another bank patron nearby was a plot, a nervousness of something about to go down soon. She peered into his mind, looked at the thoughts of what was bound to go down. What she saw was four armed, masked men enter the main entrance, ready to take the bank and everyone there for their worth at gunpoint.
Jesse took a deep breath as her friend instructed, and concentrated on the man with the plot. She concentrated on his mind, beginning to cloud and muddle the thoughts of the man, blinding his entire plan from his mind, leaving him confused as to why he was even there. A screeching sound from outside sounded like a car parked outside. She felt into that car, the minds of four, determined men preparing for something. Even quicker than the man inside the bank, Jesse's power went to work on all four men almost simultaneously, as if someone trapped smoke full of forgetfulness in the car. Their minds and bodies sagged, all of them almost lolling, except for the driver. With Jesse's insistence, the driver had enough frame of mind to pull away from the bank and into traffic. The confused man, filling out a phony bank application, also left the bank. Jesse hoped that these men would meet later and come to the conclusion that robbing that bank, any bank would be no good, for reasons unknown. Just something that they would all, unquestioningly agree with.
When it was Jesse's turn to come to the counter, the teller almost had to yell to get her attention. She told her friend, "I'll call you back." After making a money transfer like she originally intended to, she walked out of the bank, calling her friend back, feeling a spring of happiness that she just had to share. She told her friend every last detail of what happened, how she looked into the minds of "dastardly men" as she called them, and thwarted their plans permanently, before they ever happened. Her friend knew everything she was capable of, so she had no problem revealing everything to her.
"I'm so jealous of that power," her friend told her. "But I guess that's just a day in the life of the great psychic heroine Psiana," her friend told her, sounding like she was trying not to laugh.
"Yeah, I'm Psiana," Jesse told herself, with conviction.
"Well don't overwork yourself on patrol tonight."
"Not to worry, friend. I do it all from the comfort of home anyway."
"Thanks for the extra jealousy," her friend giggled.
* * *
Sabrina set her phone down and spoke to herself in Scryer's thickly accented voice. "I'll be seeing you soon, Ms. Heroine."
The red-headed witch smiled to herself, while running her fingernails into the scalp of her prized hero, worshipping her stockinged legs again.